What Does An Exercise Bike Do For Your Body

Last Updated on March 30, 2021

How An Exercise Bike Affects Your Body

A stationary bike works out a lot more than just your leg muscles. With proper form, an exercise bike workout can actively engage muscles across your body.

Upright and recumbent bikes each offer their own muscle-conditioning benefits. Because riding a bike is considered low impact, it is an ideal exercise for beginners, offering an efficient calorie-burning, muscle-toning workout.

If you have previous injuries or other physical limitations, check with your doctor before riding a stationary bike.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Exercise Bike

Legs

Riding a stationary bike works out your hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, and quadriceps. While an upright bike may appear to offer a more strenuous workout whereas a recumbent bike workout is generally more strenuous.

This is because the hamstrings and quadriceps are used more on a recumbent bike than an upright bike. On a recumbent bike, your legs are primarily responsible for powering the machine, but on an upright bike, your core and upper body share the workload with your legs.

Heart

It’s not unknown that there are many cardiovascular benefits of a stationary bike workout. By performing sprint intervals, you can reach and maintain your target heart rate zone where you gain the most health benefits.

To determine your target heart rate zone, subtract your age from 220 to obtain your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate ranges between 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Core

On an upright bike, keeping your abdominal muscles tight is important for maintaining proper form and control. The reclined recumbent bike position provides an efficient workout for your glutes and abdominal muscles.

To strengthen your core while riding a stationary bike, draw in your stomach towards your spine, which should tilt your pelvis and flatten your back. In this position, perform leg extensions by lifting one leg at a time while pedaling the bike with your other foot.

Then do arm raises while pedaling. Keep your stomach drawn in. Hold the leg extensions and arm raises for 15 seconds during each rep. Repeat each exercise three times for three sets, with 15-second breaks in between reps.

Upper Body

With concentrated effort, you can work out your upper body while riding a stationary bike. Some bike models have movable arm handles, these can be used in a rowing motion while pedaling the machine. The comfortable and secure position of a recumbent bike seat frees up your hands to work with dumbbells or resistance bands for upper body conditioning.

Your upper body muscles are naturally engaged more on an upright bike because they help power the movement. You could also stand up while riding upright to further condition your upper body.

Benefits Of An Exercise Bike

Weight Loss

Doing your workout on an exercise bike is a great method of weight loss. You can burn anywhere between 40-80 calories in just 10 minutes, depending on your body weight and exercise intensity. It is a great way to shed fat from your lower body as it activates the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Cardiovascular Health

The heart is a muscle and like all muscles, it needs to be trained regularly to stay in shape!

A well-trained heart induces a lower heart rate, at rest and during exercise. A well-trained heart thus beats less frequently and is less stressed. Blood pressure, which ensures blood circulation in our arteries, is also lower when the heart is more muscular because it ejects a larger volume of blood at each contraction. This can also improve your immune system and lower blood pressure.

Strength Building

Exercising on a stationary bike is perfect for toning your legs, thighs, and buttocks but also your arms, abdominal and back muscles. Your muscles are especially working when you increase the resistance of your exercise bike. A low resistance level is good for warming up and for improving endurance but not to gain muscle.

Interval Training

Interval training allows you to alternate short bursts of intense exercise with longer intervals of less intense exercise. This type of training can help you burn more calories in less time, and also enhance your cardio fitness.

A stationary bike will allow for varied resistance levels, so you can exercise at low, medium, or high intensities which makes it ideal for an interval training workout.

Low-Impact

A stationary bike workout is a low-impact workout that uses smooth movements to strengthen bones and joints without putting too much pressure on them. This makes it a good workout option for people with joint issues or injuries.

Your ankles, knees, hips, and other joints can be put under a lot of stress when running, jogging, jumping, or doing other high-impact aerobic exercises. Because your feet don’t lift off the pedals with a stationary bike, this option is kinder to your joints, but it still provides a challenging and effective workout.

Stress

Any form of workout helps release “feel good” hormones. As a result, you feel much more positive at the end of the session. Stationary biking too helps you sweat and burn calories, this reduces stress levels and stimulates the release of serotonin.

Cognitive Function

Several studies have confirmed that using an exercise bike helps improve cognitive function, memory, and attention span. The serotonin released during the workout and the action of pedaling play a significant role in this and due to the previously mentioned cardiovascular benefits you’ll feel and be healthier allowing more oxygen to be pumped to the brain which has a whole host of benefits.

Convenience

If biking to and from work or school is not convenient for you, a stationary bike is a great option to keep yourself fit. Also, you can easily avoid the heat, pollution, dust, rain, and all other outdoor factors that may prevent you from exercising not to mention any potential for road accidents.

Joints

Cycling helps improve the range of motion of your joints. It benefits the knees, ankles, and hip joints. When you pedal, all these joints rotate, improving their range of motion and strengthening them.

Reduced Risk Of Diabetes

Endurance sports such as cycling on exercise bikes offer many benefits for diabetics. When we exercise or do sports, our muscles use glucose and as a result, the blood sugar level decreases. Diabetes is indeed characterized by an excess of sugar in the blood and many scientific studies have shown that sport and physical activity lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.

Choosing An Exercise Bike

  • Ensure it has a comfortable saddle that is adjustable
  • Check the weight capacity
  • If you have back issues, get a bike with an attached backrest. If not though, do not bother with this accessory
  • The handlebars should be adjustable and movable, much like a cross-trainer.
  • Make sure your bike has an option for using resistance.
  • Ensure your bike has a display screen that can show you your speed, heart rate, and the number of calories burned. This helps while working out as you can record your progress.
  • There are options for exercise bikes that come with dumbbells or with a stepper and twister attached which may be worth getting if you want to work your upper body
  • Check out the reviews while searching for exercise bikes, these give you a great insight into the product

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an exercise bike good for weight loss?

Numerous studies have found that high-intensity training significantly reduces total abdominal fat, including dangerous visceral (belly) fat more effectively than lower-intensity exercise.

How long should you ride an exercise bike to lose weight?

When biking you should go at your own pace. If you’re just starting out and can only start cycling for 5 minutes before your legs start to ache then check to see your resistance level and look up some workout routines to try, you can find our list of the best here.

Is it ok to ride an exercise bike every day?

Stationary bikes allow for an aerobic workout no matter the weather conditions. They can be safely used every day as part of a workout routine and may be ideal for people with joint problems.

Summary

Regular workout on stationary bikes has great benefits on your body, health, and mood! Exercise and sports help us feel good and this positive effect is not only psychological but physical and emotional too.

Our body really needs it and rewards you with plenty of benefits if you treat it right. So go have a look at some exercise bikes and find one that helps you get a great cardio workout.

Happy cycling!

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